I’m working as an advisor for MediaBistro’s Job Search Boot Camp. Why? I’m not a career coach, or an employment expert. But, I can offer something that’s just as valuable. Inspiration. See, I’m not supposed to be here. I didn’t go to the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and I don’t “know anyone.” I got here through the 3 Ps; persistence, positivity, and perspiration.
I realized I wanted to be a reporter after 9/11. I had worked at 2 World Trade Center for Morgan Stanley from 1997-2000, and was on my way to my job at American Express at 40 Wall Street, when terror struck. I spent days and weeks watching local and national news, soaking up every morsel of information about what had happened to my beloved friends, my beloved city and my beloved twin towers. I took a buyout at American Express, and decided to intern (for free) at New York Times Television – a production company hooked in with the Discovery Channel – on a one-hour documentary bringing the words of the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times column, “Portraits of Grief” to video. I was hooked.
Next, I started my transition to local news. I took a class at NYU, begged the Dean to introduce me to a contact at NY1, and then proceeded to contact the Assignment Editor there. She can attest that I called her dozens of times. I left messages. I used humor. I asked others what was the best time of the day to reach her. Finally, it worked. Someone so persistent and positive couldn’t be a bad investment, right?
My first real reporting job? I called and called and called, trying to get to the Assistant News Director at this one local station in CT. I sent my tape. When I finally got him on the phone, and he couldn’t immediately find the tape, I said, “I could have a new one on your desk in an hour, are you free at 2pm?” It worked.
Now, know this. I’ve gotten a lot of no’s along the way. I remember each one. And I still get no’s. But you only need one yes. Now, THAT’S the power of positivity.